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Published on November 21, 2016. Last modified on May 30, 2019
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV is an infectious agent that invades and disables a person’s immune system, the body’s natural defense against disease. There is no cure for HIV infection. HIV‑infected persons who do not receive appropriate medical care may become ill and be diagnosed with an AIDS-defining condition.
AIDS is a syndrome, or collection of signs and symptoms, that is attributed to the natural course of HIV infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified a total of 27 different diagnoses and conditions as AIDS‑defining illnesses. Once diagnosed with AIDS, many people can subsequently begin, resume, or modify HIV treatment regimens and maintain or return to productive, relatively healthy lifestyles. Without adequate treatment, AIDS is a fatal condition.